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The SSDs: Sixteen Intel X25-Es

Another Record Broken: 6 Gb SAS, 16 SSDs, 3.4 GB/s!
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Intel is in the process of ramping up its next generation of flash SSD drives, as all new products are based on 34 nm MLC flash (X25-M for consumers). 

The X25-E drives should also be receiving an upgrade with the die-shrunk flash memory chips soon. Nevertheless, we kept the same drive lineup that we had used for the initial story: 16 X25-E enterprise-class flash SSDs from Intel with a capacity of 64 GB each. The total capacity of a fully-configured array with these 16 drives is exactly 1 TB, but capacity wasn’t our objective here. Rather, we wanted more throughput and better I/O performance.

The Intel X25 SSDs are all based on an in-house design with a 10-channel flash controller and integrated 16 MB cache memory. They have Native Command Queuing (NCQ) support, allowing the drives to optimize performance, manage wear leveling, and counter performance-degrading effects such as write amplification. In short, the SSDs continually optimize storage to maximize the user experience at all times.

None of the SSDs currently available support Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or 600 MB/s transfer speeds, and it appears that a faster interface isn’t necessary--at least not yet. The drives we used are sufficient to reach 3GB/s+ throughput in RAID, but we believe they cannot actually saturate the new generation HBAs and RAID controllers utilizing PCI Express 2.0 and SAS/600.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 6:54 AM
    Holy cow, how much for the total damage?
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 8:31 AM
    It would be good to get a benchmark with a Windows XP/Vista/7 showing how long to boot the OS, various games, file copy speed... etc Fair enough these give fast throughput but where are the real world results?
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 8:32 AM
    What about some photos of the raid itself?
  • -6 Hide
    amdfangirl , August 26, 2009 9:51 AM
    That's... such an overkill...
  • 6 Hide
    climber , August 26, 2009 11:28 AM
    Personally, I would like to see a "Part II" to this article showing RAID 5, 6 and 10 setups with the same tests. No database admin or graphic designer, animator or CAD/CAM/GIS professional is going to use RAID 0 with it's inherent vulnerability, or at least they shouldn't.
  • 1 Hide
    amnotanoobie , August 26, 2009 11:29 AM
    faceholeIt would be good to get a benchmark with a Windows XP/Vista/7 showing how long to boot the OS, various games, file copy speed... etc Fair enough these give fast throughput but where are the real world results?


    I think with the cost of such a setup these would be ideal for a web or application server, or maybe a small data center. Booting Win 7 would be the least of your problems.
  • -5 Hide
    megahunter , August 26, 2009 11:56 AM
    what vga was used?
  • 0 Hide
    cah027 , August 26, 2009 12:46 PM
    I wonder if this is the type of storage used in super computers or render farms ?
  • -1 Hide
    GullLars , August 26, 2009 2:03 PM
    "None of the SSDs currently available support Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) or 600 MB/s transfer speeds"
    False: STEC's Zeus IOPs, and BitMicro's E-Disk Altima support SAS (Zeus supports SAS 6 Gbit). Though these cost about 3-5x more pr GB.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 2:30 PM
    could it be that the computer's integrated graphics card is also connected to that bus and utilizes some bandwidth?

    Another question I had is if you really notice a difference running whatever program on 2,2GB/s or 3,4GB/s? Even slow Vista should fly there.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 2:40 PM
    Excellent article, thanks
  • 6 Hide
    meatwad53186 , August 26, 2009 3:01 PM
    I don't know about anyone else, but I would like to see Tom's including more pictures of the hardware actually in the Tom's office, set up, and being used in some of the articles that get posted.
  • 0 Hide
    bounty , August 26, 2009 3:28 PM
    So what you need now is for Intel to hook you up with another 6 drives and you can load up the onboard SATA controller, raid 0 that with the others. Or switch platforms to something designed for Quad SLI then really load up on the drives (plus onboard SATA of course.) I say dial up the ridiculous, then see how long it takes to boot/load games. New hobby for the super overclockers, make fastest raid 0 setup.
  • -1 Hide
    sseyler , August 26, 2009 4:35 PM
    I'd like to see the actual setup myself, as well..
  • 0 Hide
    viometrix , August 26, 2009 5:08 PM
    id love to see this myself as well...
  • 0 Hide
    tixarn1 , August 26, 2009 6:53 PM
    faceholeIt would be good to get a benchmark with a Windows XP/Vista/7 showing how long to boot the OS, various games, file copy speed... etc Fair enough these give fast throughput but where are the real world results?


    As I've said before, it's not all a hardware RAID and thus isn't bootable.
  • -1 Hide
    Major7up , August 26, 2009 7:39 PM
    I would love to see some high end Mobo's that incororate these new controllers to leave your PCIe slots free. I would bet it would not be cheap but it certainly would be awesome!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 10:17 PM
    16x Intel X-25 E will set you down approx €10.000
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 10:18 PM
    16x Intel X-25 E will set you down approx €10.000
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 26, 2009 10:19 PM
    16x Intel X-25 E will set you down approx €10.000
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